Column: New Ulm boys’ hockey team has a lot coming back next season

At the beginning of this hockey season the goal of the New Ulm Eagles boys’ hockey team was to earn a trip to the Minnesota State High School Tournament.

They accomplished that goal. “But we also had a goal to win a game — we did fall short of that but we played some pretty good hockey,” Eagles coach Ryan Neuman said following a 6-0 defeat to No. 1 seed Mahtomedi and then a close 2-1 loss to Delano as New Ulm ended 17-10-1.

The Eagles will see eight seniors leave in goaltender Jack Raymond, forwards Josh Seidl, Ryan Esser, Landon Strong, and Kyle Tauer. Defensemen Landon Depew, Shane Esser, Blake Tauer.

“Jack was a three-year starter in goal for us and Landon Strong (15-16) really stepped up his game at the end of the year,” Neuman said. “Kyle Tauer scored some big goals and Shane ate up a lot of minutes on defense as did Blake. Josh Seidl (14-18) had a lot of points. Next year we are definitely going to have to have some players step up.”

But the cupboard is far from bare for the Eagles next season.

“We do have a lot of talent coming back next season,” Neuman said. “There will be some good competition to start the year next season.”

The Eagles bring back leading scorer Glavine Schugel (27-22).

“Freshman Braxten Hoffmann (10-14) had a pretty good year and we had some sophomores stepped up,” Neuman said. “We had another freshman Josh Gulden who played solid.”

Raymond’s replacement will come from the trio of Kyle Esser, Joey Gag and Dawson Sellner.

Esser, who played one game for the varsity this year, comes up from a talented JV team that went 19-0 this year.

“There will be some good competition for the starting goalie next year,” Neuman said.

He said that the JV team had plenty of scoring options.

“There are some guys on the JV team that can put the puck in the net,” Neuman said. “Our whole coaching staff is excited about what we have coming back.

“And we will have our summer program in June and July that the Minnesota High School League lets us do. Last year was the most skaters that I have had in that summer program.”

Neuman said that coaching in a state tournament “can’t be put into words how much fun it is. It is more for the players — you are happy for the group of players that you have.”

And New Ulm finished fourth in the “All-Hair State Tournament team.”

“They let their personalities come out and you can tell the bond that these guys had,” Neuman said. “Every team in the state tournament had that and they earned that right. They have to have some fun there — they are 16-17 year old boys.”

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